Fearful thoughts are not obedient to Christ, but faith-filled thoughts are.
I love having a chat over a cup-o-joe. But I haven’t always felt that way.
Coffee dates, or any kind of date for that matter, used to be a huge reason for anxiety. After my heart was broken by a young man I loved in my early twenties, I didn’t think I could handle a repeat performance, so getting within 10 miles of anything that looked like love felt very scary—even if it meant just meeting up for a chocolate mocha.
A guy would call me on the phone and ask, “Hey, how about coffee?” “Sure,” I would respond. We would set up a time and I would hang up.
Immediately, my mind would go into a spin and I would start imagining things that hadn’t happened yet, and may not ever happen. In less than three seconds, I would picture myself having coffee with my new date, carrying on a relationship, meeting his mother, getting married, birthing his babies, and folding his underwear! And in less than three seconds, I would be terrified.
In 2 Corinthians 10:5, Paul describes the thoughts I had as “vain imaginations.” These are empty thoughts that are not based on God’s truth or reality. This is exactly what my “pre-coffee date” thoughts were—and all they did were feed fear and steal my focus on the present.
Maybe God is inviting you to serve Him in a new way. Perhaps He wants you to step out to a place where you have experienced failure. Maybe He wants you to speak at a conference, sing in a choir, get married, raise a child, start an organization, or write a book. And while what He is asking you to do interests you, it also scares you.
Here’s what to do when fearful thoughts like those I had before my coffee dates make you feel like they will consume you: Take them captive. In 2 Corinthians 10:5, Paul says to “take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.” Fearful thoughts are not obedient to Christ, but faith-filled thoughts are. This means that when you start to think, “I can’t do it. I can’t sing,” or “I can’t run that organization,” stop your thoughts dead in their tracks and replace them with faith-filled thoughts that are obedient to Christ’s truth. “Because God is with me, I can do all things through Him because He strengthens me.” Speak the truth out loud and repeat it as often as you feel fear. Then do what scares you. Having courage doesn’t mean you don’t feel fear; it means you move forward in the face of fear.
If God has called you, God will equip you. Where He guides, He provides. And remember: There is nothing that can destroy you. There is no power without and no fear within that can keep you from the success God has planned for you--if you will step out and trust Him in spite of the fear you feel.